Chapter 19: Perfect Future
This fight should have been over.
It was the thought that had repeated over and over in his mind after he had transformed, and it had only become louder as half of his attacks where turned aside by the giant of a machine he was fighting. Their battle had progressed at a speed that was almost stunning to note, and he had transformed as soon as it was clear that his original form didn't have the power needed to put down his foe. Yet despite all logic and reason the battle was ongoing, and undecided.
The power he wielded now was truly awe-inspiring, and he was attacking with a ferocity previously unseen as he allowed the violent impulses that came with his new form to rule him. But against all odds Android 16 still resisted. And the robotic being resisted well. The blows Cooler rained down on its body sounded bloody murder, and any organic being would surely have been affected by the pain, but the android simply ignored all of his efforts to beat it and kept on attacking. The attacks he received from it in turn didn't hurt, but they were costing him by the sheer fact that every second wasted on the fight was a second not used to build the Spirit Bomb.
Fighting like this, with victory just barely away from his fingertips, reminded him too much of his initial bout with the Saiyan Turles. Only unlike then he didn't have more power hidden away. This had the makings of a battle that would drag on for a long time until one of them finally dropped into the mud. And as much as he hated to even consider it, from the way events were shaping up the one standing over the other's exhausted corpse-to-be wouldn't be him.
Not that I can afford to wait that long.
"I do not wish to take your life. There is still time for you to leave this world." Sixteen said, catching Cooler's fist in his own and applying pressure to it. "Swear to never harm another living being and go."
This is ridiculous. Cooler thought, a sneer spreading over the side of his face telling the android what he thought of the offer. The pressure which had been used to lock his fist in place was quickly thrown off as he opened his fist, then reversed as he wrapped his fingers tight around Sixteen's arm brace.
"I don't negotiate with machines, and definitely not with ones weaker than me." Cooler said, grabbing the android's other arm with his left and raising it up next to his right. "Here's a counter offer: Do a good job begging for mercy and I'll let you flee wherever you wish. I came here to murder Majin Buu, not small fry like you."
And that was the truth, unless it fled anywhere on Earth. Now that he was here, he had zero intention to leave the symbol of his family's failure standing. When Buu died, the planet was going with him. Cooler would make sure of that if Cell didn't.
Two red lights flashed in Sixteen's eyes before red beams blasted into Cooler's eyes, making him recoil in pain as his retinas burned. Being blinded was almost a pleasant side effect to what felt like his optic nerves being set on fire.
"You are overconfident." He heard Sixteen's emotionless voice say from somewhere nearby. He lashed out to the side where he thought the android's voice came from, the blow only striking air. A retaliatory punch landed across the side of the Arcosian's face, whipping it to the side. The next blow exploded into his stomach, forcing a pained cough from behind his bone mask as he absorbed it.
His blurry vision was starting to clear and he saw a green and black shape hurtling for him, countered by kicking out both legs and sending it flying back with the sound of struck metal.
"I don't need to see to hit you with this one!" Cooler announced as he raised his hand over his head, "Either you take this blast or the planet does, I assume you have a preference."
With a dark chuckle he formed the Supernova, enjoying the familiar feel of the destructive energy in his hand. The intense light shining from the orange orb wasn't making his eye problems pass any easier, but he didn't need careful aim for his next move.
"I've lost count of how many planets I've annihilated with this attack, but I never get tired of the fireworks!" Cooler laughed, heaving the attack down at Sixteen. In the distance he sensed a huge explosion of ki but whatever the cause was he was too busy to try and find out. Although it reaffirmed his decision to turn the planet into rubble while he had the chance.
The Supernova fell through the air without even a hint of resistance, which came as a mild surprise. He'd thought that the android would at least try to stop the blast given how it had declared its allegiance to the Earth when their fight had started. But it looked like they'd all be fighting in a debris field soon.
A blur shot past him from the Supernova, making his eyes widen in shock as he spun around to face it. Android Sixteen was facing him with his usual stoic expression, his armour burned and broken from diving through the fiery attack.
Both of Sixteen's hands detached from his wrists and fired at Cooler, who brought his arms up in a cross guard over his chest. The hands swerved at the last instant to grab Cooler by the spikes on his back, eliciting a cry as he was flipped around and forced down past the burning surface of the Supernova.
Inside the colossal orb he had created Cooler screamed in agony as he was assaulted on all sides by destructive ki, bringing him to a brief moment of empathy for the previous lives he had taken with the technique.
With the tenuous hold he had on the Supernova he forced it to detonate early. He lost all awareness outside of his body as the explosion dashed him into the earth, forming a smaller crater in the midst of the city sized one left by it.
The first sign he had that he wasn't dead was when he heard the sound of someone landing in front of him. With only instinct to guide him Cooler started to rise up on all fours, stopping when he heard an odd clicking sound accompanied with a building heat on his back.
The attack utterly consumed the space Cooler had occupied as massive jets of artificial ki poured out of Sixteen's elbow stumps. The collateral energy from the blast shot out from the ground around Sixteen as the earth quaked and ruptured around him, drawing a grimace from the giant.
After 15 long seconds the attack stopped firing and Sixteen's arms reconnected.
Sixteen whirled around and closed both hands around Cooler's wrist, stopping his fist inches away from connected with its skull. The fact that his fifth form had lost so much strength that the android had easily detected and halted his blow should have alarmed Cooler, but instead he smirked as he met the machine's red pupils with his own.
A purple blade sprang from the edge of his fist, stabbing into Sixteen's face. He was treated to a rare display of emotion from the android as its mouth fell open, before he spun around with the blade and severed its head from its body. The two fell to the earth together, and Cooler sighed in tired relief as he lost his transformation. His body hurt, he felt like spending a week in a healing tank.
'Cooler ready the Spirit Bomb, now!'
His heard jerked up as he heard Cell's voice in his mind. His ally sounded worried, and he didn't like that implication. Turning his ki sense north he could see why. Feeling Majin Buu's power had been like trying to measure a pool that grew the more one approached the bottom. Now the entire ocean of strength Buu had been hiding was out in full force, and Cell's own energy which had seemed so godlike before was like a crumbling tower.
I still have a way out.
It wasn't going to be one he used until Cell was out for sure, because if he was wrong he'd be dead before he knew it. He raised his hands to the sky, feeling himself connect with all the energy left in this system. This planet had even less energy than the one he had practised on, the one that had been ravaged by the Tree of Might. But as disappointing as that was, he wasn't limited to just this planet.
'Stall for a few minutes. The machine occupied my time.'
'I don't have a few minutes!'
His anger bled through his psychic connection to Cooler, and he hoped it caused the Arcosian as much pain as possible. Honestly the disappointment almost hurt with how strongly he felt it. The bitter taste in his mouth just wouldn't leave as more and more it reflected on him what a failure Cooler had turned out to be. Another android should have been a mere stumbling block to Cooler after their training, yet he managed to waste more than five whole minutes dealing with it. In what had to be a symptom of facing his death, he could almost sense the ghosts of 17 and 18 looking over his shoulder laughing at him, at how one of their kind led to their indirect revenge for absorbing them.
Time was running out, and more options weren't appearing. He could always try running, but he refused to take the coward's way out while the best chance to beating Buu was just a short while away from being realised. His problem was that his own personal clock was going to stop long before then unless he came up with something impressive.
He'd have to rely on some of his new and old tools if he wanted to find the way out of this that didn't have him listed as just another victim of Majin Buu.
His aura, which had been restrained within him, flooded out over the area in all its glory, glowing like the sun as Cell shifted into a stance used by the now extinct Turtle School. His effective power dropped as a result, but he had a plan around that. Majin Buu just idled his head to the side curiously before continuing his count.
This is going to hurt.
There was a flicker of movement in front of him then Cell felt pain erupt from his skull as Buu's elbow slammed into it, sending him into a meteoric crash through the waves down to the bottom of the frigid sea. The impact of his back against the bedrock sent a new jolt of pain through his limbs, a note of pain that he quickly fought off as thousands of red dots lined the surface of the water above him.
Dozens of explosions went off around Cell before he reacted in time, using Instant Movement to appear in the sky behind Buu. The djinn was laughing hysterically with one hand aimed down at the water firing blast after blast into the turbulent waves.
"Do you have any idea how sick I am of hearing that!"
"What about just one more time?" said Cell, smirking as Buu's gaze turned upwards to him. The blasts violently assaulting the waves stopped as Cell drew his arms back and let the gold and red aura expand from him "Kaioken Times Ten!"
His fist and Majin Buu's made contact in the air, creating a shock wave that rent the atmosphere with its hypersonic boom. The tremors running through his arm as a result made Cell glance down at his recoiling fist with worry. Before the Kaioken had served as a way to get out of the few situations where his own strength didn't suffice, and it always proved sufficient. The fact that his enhanced punch had been thoroughly countered, and that he hurt as a result told him that he was right to believe that he'd need more than his own power to beat Buu.
Looking up he saw Majin Buu pulling his own fist back, incisors revealing in a pained snarl. That restored some of Cell's confidence, to see that matching his strike hadn't been easy. Emboldened by this he drove his knee up at Buu's torso, and found it countered by the majin's own knee. A little faster than he could properly react to Buu sent a side-kick at him with his other leg, and that he escaped using a variation he'd made to the After-Image technique.
As soon as Buu's foot collided with the replica it was ripped in half by the force, then detonated. The flash of light and heat wasn't strong enough to drive Buu back but it did leave the majin missing a limb. As he gazed down at it in shock Cell dove in on him from above to take advantage of the opening. The shift in Buu's shoulders and ki alerted him before the rising uppercut could meet him, and the exploding clone was left in his place. This time the explosion took off everything below Buu's shoulder, which he reacted to with a reptilian smile.
"You found a good way to stall Cell, but don't think that will work on me again." Buu declared, eyes roaming over the area to try and locate Cell. He needn't have bothered as the android dropped out of space in front of him, a confident grin stretching over his face as he spread his arms wide.
"Stall you? I can think of a better way to do that. But if you're so confident its really me in front of you, take your best shot."
Buu shot forward without a moment's hesitation, letting out a battle cry as his arm blasted through the air towards Cell's chest. At the last second before contact Buu grabbed Cell by the throat and threw him behind him, where the real Cell was just starting to emerge with a flying kick.
His eyes went wide as he struck his own decoy, and he wasn't able to halt his momentum fast enough to avoid getting his feet blasted off. In a blur Majin Buu had him by the neck, hoisting him up in his grip.
"It's not accurate but I guess we're down to five. Any thoughts about that?"
"Your Android friend is a pile of scrap metal right now, that's what I think." Cell choked out. Buu's immediate reaction to look in the direction Cooler's fight had been allowed Cell freedom to breath, and gather energy as he moved his hands to his sides.
With speed that Cell would have considered impossible just minutes before Buu blinked out of the way his blast would have taken, disappearing with the barest sign of movement to alert him. It was a good thing that he hadn't finished with the attack however, as the blue orb covering his hands turned red as he vanished after Buu.
The blast wiped away Majin Buu almost instantly, and continued unimpeded down through the Earth and out the other side of the planet, blasting off into space. Cell lowered his hands, breathing heavily as he felt the enormous toll that the blast had taken on his energy. His aura faded away as he concentrated his energy internally, not even bothering to check for Buu's energy. That blast wouldn't do any more damage than the ones he had hit him with before, the best way it was going to buy him time was hopefully by scattering Buu's atoms so deep into space that he'd take even longer to reform himself.
As Cell relocated himself to one of the few floating sheets of ice, he noticed tiny blue wisps leaving the surface of the ocean and draining away to the horizon. That was a good sign that the Spirit Bomb was on its way to being finished. It was difficult to tell how much power it had versus how much would be needed to annihilate Buu, but the energy it held was still growing by the second.
That was good. He had poured most of his energy into the blast to overcome any defence Buu might have raised, and to make it cover as much distance as possible. The Kaioken had been a last second addition to an attack that would already have given Buu some difficulty to halt. The combination of his Arcosian and Namekian physiology was already beginning to restore some of the harm inflicted by the Kaioken, and as his ki began dribbling back his mind turned to Cooler.
'How much longer do you need?'
'Not long, the energy is building even faster than I anticipated. It'll be ready any second now.'
The sheet of ice he had been standing on was evaporated along with hundreds of tons of seawater as in almost reversed order Majin Buu was standing in front of him, then a monstrous red dome rose behind him.
He responded at once.
Cell was cut off by Buu's uppercut launching him into the air, his body crossing hundreds of kilometers in no time before a second blow sent him spiralling through a rocky hillside.
"Kaio-nothing!" Buu exclaimed, aiming his hand down with a deadly crimson bolt already crackling within it. Cell somersaulted backwards to avoid the blast, landing on his back foot then charging forwards with the red aura of the Kaioken enveloping him. He threw a jab at Buu which he caught before it was even halfway in its flight, then levitated up so that he could fire a snap kick at the side of Buu's face. The majin brought his hand up in its path, stopping it easily.
Cell grit his teeth and flared the Kaioken for all it was worth, treated only to Buu's jacket blowing back wildly. With a somewhat apologetic look Buu grabbed Cell's leg by the ankle and used it and his fist to lift him up high over his head then slam him into the ground.
The red wisps of the Kaioken left him and Cell just lay there, gasping for breath. He enjoyed enough resilience to try and lift his head up, but all hope was succeeding died when a boot violently drove into his chin, shattering his jaw and sending his body skidding back over the tundra.
I forgot where I am in the countdown? Oh well, no reason to drag this out.
He could still sense the rat Cooler's energy on the horizon slowly dipping in and out. Maybe he was trying to conceal his energy but didn't have the hang of it yet? It didn't matter. Cell's death was going to be quick, it had to be just thanks to what the creature was. But Cooler? He was going to pay for hurting Sixteen. He hadn't been lying when he said that the Android had been a great help in recovering what was left of humanity, and he gave the humans of Buu City someone more like them to turn to. It didn't bother Buu, he liked being able to take days off from the boring parts of rebuilding.
Another punch to the temple guaranteed that Cell would be out cold for what was coming. He had experienced the android's annoying death and power boost cycle too often to underestimate it now. The attack he was going to use now was more than powerful enough to destroy the planet and maybe the entire solar system if he wasn't careful; which is why he was going to be very careful.
Buu lifted up into the air, both hands aimed at the sky. The ki he needed to form this attack came from the same place as the rest of his newfound power, it was something he had brushed at before but couldn't have dreamed of using until he had access to it all. Unlike the similar looking attacks designed by Trunks, this one didn't start out small and grow. It simply manifested in the sky like a second sun, red light drowning out the natural sunshine near instantly. Buu grinned as he assessed the Super Vanishing Ball, and found it more than adequate to his needs.
"Remember when I told you the attack I used was made up of all the ki stolen from planets' I'd destroyed? Well I lied, this is it!" He yelled out over the high winds kicked up by the orb which he had used to destroy so many planets in the past. Even just being this close to the planet was with was causing parts of the Earth to deform and break as a passive result of its power. Cell was just beginning to stir below, which meant he sure as hell wasn't going to be up in time to dodge it.
"You're not weaselling your way out of this one! Say goodbye!"
Buu squinted as the dark red light of his Vanishing Ball was suddenly replaced by a gentle blue that seemed to come from everywhere at once. Glancing at Cell he saw that the bio-android was still unmoving, so his first suspicion that this was some new trick as thrown out. The light rapidly grew from a gentle, soothing blue to a bright tone that left Buu almost unable to see beyond his own arms. He almost mistook it as some kind of attack on its own, like the Solar Flare, but was soon corrected as the real source of the light came into view.
It was massive.
The Vanishing Ball which he held up had given him the feeling of holding a moon in his hands, but it was nothing compared to the monstrosity bearing down on him. In a panic he threw the Super Vanishing Ball at it, forgetting all about Cell at that moment. Cell was nothing, this was an attack with more power than he ever could have believed possible!
The blue wall of light swallowed his attack whole and kept on moving, in fact it was almost like it was speeding up the closer it got to him. In the blink of an eye Majin Buu was in the upper atmosphere and racing even higher, sure that an attack of that magnitude wouldn't be able to change direction. However a look back sent a stab of fear into his heart as he saw the blue sphere still hot on his heels.
"What the hell is this!"
Even with all his energy focusing on speed, running was becoming increasingly pointless as the shining orb somehow accelerated after him. This was beyond what he knew of ki attacks, and this was beyond what Dr Gero's pet could do, this was...
This is what he needed Cooler for! Somehow this is his fault, I just know it!
At some point beyond where Earth's moon had once been Majin Buu stopped and turned around, facing the beast of an attack about to devour him. This close the pull of its ki was so strong that Buu could feel himself having to resist being drawn into it, which told him a little of how staggering the power it contained was.
He marvelled at the incandescent blast as it came rushing at him, his sleeves disintegrating simply due to the proximity. With the wall of blue light millimetres away from consuming him, Majin Buu's face twisted with a demented grin last seen on his child form, and he thought of Cell.
When he regained full control of his body the Spirit Bomb was a shrinking blue spot in the sky. He may not have seen the attack be used, but he knew it had to be the Spirit Bomb. Nothing else could have countered the vile blast he had sensed Buu conjure at the edge of his awareness. He was truly sorry that he had missed it. This was the last time the North Kai's attack would ever be used on so grand a scale, and after the chore of training Cooler to unite his body and spirit he would have loved to see the look on Majin Buu's face when he realised he was about to die thanks to that weakling.
Your destruction was inevitable Buu, just like all of my enemies.
His energy may have been exhausted, his body may have ached, but there was still work to be done. The last time he thought he'd disposed of Buu his thoughts had turned to the grandure of what lay ahead, but he curbed his excitement this time. Arcs of bio-electricity crackled through the air as he raised his power, golden flames lighting around him as he tested just how much strength was available to him. From the assessment he determined that his power level had dropped a considerable amount from its peak, he was barely as strong as he'd been on Namek.
A little low but more than enough to kill you, Cooler. Don't worry, I'll be with you in a second.
Cell's eyes were drawn up to the sky, where the light of the Spirit Bomb had just disappeared from view with a brief twinkle in the face of the sun. He frowned, then gave a half shrug as he began sensing out Cooler's energy. From Frieza and King Cold's memories he knew what happened when a blast not even a tenth as strong hit a star; there wouldn't be anything left of the Earth in about half an hour no matter what he did. If Cooler was lucky he might survive, which meant he had to personally end his former partner's life.
"I did it." said Cell, the last words he'd ever utter on the subject of Majin Buu. A whole eternity of spreading his perfection over the universe was about to commence, as soon as he squashed one more insect.
"Did it? What did you do?"
The voice of a dead man came from behind Cell's ear, and he felt the blood freeze in his veins as he vainly wondered if he'd imagined it. The weight of an arm resting itself on his shoulder killed that fleeting hope, and with a crushing weight growing in his chest he slowly turned his head around.
Majin Buu was standing casually next to him, looking up at the same spot in the sky where he had felt the Spirit Bomb kill him. Taking note of his stupefied stare Buu turned his gaze down to him, a grin stretching from ear to ear like a kid in a candy store.
"You ruined my clothes if that's what you mean." Buu said lifting up the arm that wasn't resting on Cell to indicate how the sleeve of his jacket was missing. "Still, that is one great light show you put on. I'd give you ten out of ten points if this was a contest."
Buu slipped his arm off of Cell and strode forwards, an assured smirk half-facing Cell before he had his back facing him. "I really didn't see a worm like Cooler pulling something like that off, bravo! You must be proud, y'know, as a teacher."
The casual stance was infuriating enough, the fact that Buu was in a jesting mood after being hit by an attack that by all rights should have left him dead was allowing Cell to tap into a vein of anger that gave some strength back to his tired aura. He could tell that the freak was going to talk about anything and everything but what mattered:
"How are you alive?!"
Buu glanced back at him before spinning on his one leg, striking a showman's pose, "Instant Movement, all thanks to you!" Buu said, striking a bow.
Real horror dawned on Cell's face as he took a step back, which Buu picked up on instantly as his eyes flitted up and the pink demon smirked devilishly. "I've been able to do that trick since the first time I saw you do it, but I was saving it for a rainy day."
Buu vanished from place, flashing all around Cell in a disorientating display before arriving in front of him with his fist cocked back.
"Now where was I? Eh, doesn't matter, your time's up!"
Buu's exclamation was punctuated by his fist blurring up at Cell, and then darkness followed.
The plan had been to fly the Spirit Bomb into place and hit both Buu and Cell with it, taking two very threatening birds out with one giant sized stone. The plan had gone flying violently off the rails when he saw the second biggest attack ever about to be brought down on Cell. His ki sense also told him that the attack was going to not only destroy the planet, but have enough strength left that he'd be blown to pieces with it. And even if it didn't, he was too far away to catch both Buu and Cell with the Spirit Bomb. If he Cell would be dead, but Majin Buu's full attention would be on him before he was in place. And having to keep his hands in a locked position left him frighteningly vulnerable against a monster like that. He had a chance with the element of surprise, but take that away and he was sure that Buu would find a way to get to him.
So he chose to side with the lesser of two evils and threw the Spirit Bomb at Buu as soon as he was able. He'd guided the attack up after the demon and then fell down exhausted after he sensed Buu's energy disappear. Just holding on to all that power left his arms feeling like he'd held on to electrified wires, a feeling that spread out through the rest of his body. It left him tired and in no mood to deal with whatever Cell's next demands would be, which is why he was not there when he felt the chimera's energy rise then fall even more swiftly.
The weakness of his apparent superior represented a rare opportunity to end a threat before it developed even further, but the cloud of what he could only describe as evil descending around Cell put him on alert. A torrent of blue energy descended on him before he blasted off to Cell's location.
With a sound of displaced air Cooler arrived on the scene. A glance told him everything he needed to know: They had lost.
Majin Buu was stalking towards Cell, who was lying on the ground with his eyes shut. It was a scene Cooler had orchestrated more times than he could count, but this time it brought a tightness to his chest that made him drive his nails into his palms as he realised what he was seeing. They had failed. Failure hadn't been an option, all he and Cell had spoken of was how much they needed to do to ensure the best possible victory, one that didn't want or need any desperate moves. Now he was feeling very desperate as he watched the butcher his father had warned him about to finish off the arrogant, antagonist, hateful, only one with the ability to beat it.
He knew what would come next, it was the last part of the story he and Frieza had been told, the part after Majin Buu disappeared no-one knew where.
Images flashed in his mind's eye of worlds burning, whole population centres put to the torch at the whims of the same monster that he was watching prepare to murder Cell It would mean the end not only of the lives of the insects he ruled over, but that of his clan as well. His heart beat picked up as he clenched his fist resolutely at his side, resolve gathering. There was one way left yet to beat Majin Buu. Every fibre of his being fought against it, yet he forced himself to take a step forward, crushing a rock underfoot as he grit his teeth.
Majin Buu has to be stopped here and now. This may be the last chance anyone gets.
Of all the ways he'd imagined this would play out, he never imagined the end would count on him doing something heroic.
He raised an unsteady hand to his forehead, even now arguing with himself about what needed to be done, unwilling to commit as he urgently searched, wished, for alternatives. None appeared.
It was time to use the technique he had picked up from all those years of fighting Yardrats, the technique Cell had mastered into an art form, the technique he had used at the last second to save his life against Android 16. He had been holding it back in case things took a turn for the worse and he needed to escape from the ruins of their failed plan. But that had been in some imagined scenario where Cell turned on him after their arrangement ran its course. The reality facing him was the loss of everything, far beyond his own life. There was no point in running to save an empire when there wouldn't be anything left of it but ashes if he failed.
"Damn you for making me do this." Cooler uttered behind ground teeth, addressing Cell. Even if the so called perfect being couldn't hear him, he was the focal point for all his anger at leaving him with the responsibility of ending this. Majin Buu stopped in his tracks, looking over his shoulder to see Cooler as he raised two fingers to his forehead.
"Cooler." Buu said, exposing his fangs in a wide grin as he twisted his neck around like an owl to better face the Arcosian. Pink light built at the end of his antenna as it stiffened, the end aiming at him.
Kuriza, its up to you to uphold our family legacy now.
In the moment before he made his move he felt all blood drain from his body, as he locked on to Majin Buu's evil ki and then that of the Spirit Bomb retreating through space, his every nerve begging him to take any other option.
The candy ray fired through nothing as Cooler transmitted next to Majin Buu, placing his hand on his chest before the two of them left the face of the Earth.
Cooler and Buu materialised in space almost within the outer bounds of the Spirit Bomb already. The minute surprise moving over Buu's face turned to pure agony as he fell into the attack, which Cooler dimly watched tear the pink gummy creature into millions of pieces as he screamed before dissolving entirely. He wasn't just observing however as almost as soon as Buu had been sucked into the Spirit Bomb he had been struck by it, feeling every cell in his body scream as he was caught in a dazzling white inferno.
Somehow he lasted longer than Majin Buu, but that was no comfort. He was still aware and screaming in pain when the Spirit Bomb crashed into the Sun, which brought his pain to a whole new excruciating level.
He sensed Buu's energy rise frantically then crash, while Cooler's lasted seconds more before being wiped out as the Spirit Bomb dove into the Sun.
Cell would have wanted to gloat, to feel the sense of triumph that he had dreamed of as he executed his master-stroke. But after being so completely caught off guard by Buu his winning spirit was crushed. It didn't feel like he'd won.
If it hadn't been for Cooler...
He still didn't have enough energy left to stand so he just kept lying there. In his mind he was aware of the clock ticking down before he really had to leave this solar system, but right now he was content to enjoy the blue sky and gentle sunshine of the world that had created him. For maybe the first time in his life he really took joy in what he remembered Goku calling the simple pleasures.
He smiled and closed his eyes to avoid irritating them with the direct sunlight. He didn't know why the Arcosian had chosen to sacrifice his life for him, but he was immeasurably grateful. If it hadn't been for him then he'd be dead and forced to hear one last speech from the Supreme Kai before spending an eternity in the realm for failures. Or worse, he could have been made a part of Buu like Trunks was.
Just the thought of the pink idiot using him like a battery was enough to make his skin crawl. It was bad enough he'd had his techniques shamelessly copied!
With a deep inhalation of air Cell shot to his feet, letting the breath out as he utilised his little remaining energy to simply repairing the damage to his body. There was no reason to waste energy for what he had to do next, even Vegeta when he first came to Earth would've been capable of the task at hand.
He could feel the last humans huddled together where he remembered West City being, and even with his head feeling fuzzy after Buu's knock-out punch he still estimated their numbers to be in the tens of thousands.
Space folded around him and he was there, looking at the door to a very deep bunker. It wasn't the first time he'd come across one of these, they usually belonged to survivalists who escaped the notice of the Androids. But this one looked to have the same design principle as Babidi's ship. In fact, all the buildings around him shared common architectural DNA with the white alien vessel, though they consisted of more oblongs welded together at different angles.
So Buu really did waste his time helping these humans. What a waste. He should have spent his time training.
A small concentration of energy in his eyes blew the doors to the bunker apart, leaving his silhouette standing in the entrance with the dim light of overcast skies behind him. In the passageway to deeper levels were standing two armed guards in makeshift leather uniforms and a woman with long dark hair, who didn't look too impressive aside from a power level marginally higher than most humans.
"Buu, is that-" The woman began, retreating back as Cell floated over the threshold of the broken doorway.
"My name is Cell, and I must thank you all for gathering in one spot. It makes this so much easier."
His tail extended from behind his back, glinting dangerously in the light as he continued floating forwards. The gunmen took the hint and began opening fire just before the woman jumped forward with a kick aimed at his chest. All of their empty clothing hit the floor before the bullets had even finished bouncing off of Cell.
Five minutes later he strode out of the bunker, the last of the human race replenishing some of this sorely lacking energy. With his perfect form at least restored to working condition he could sense that he only had a few minutes left before the nova would annihilate the inner solar system. He had been fine leaving it like that, but now that he was feel refreshed why should he let an unfeeling stellar event have the honour?
And this time he wouldn't be using the Death Ball or Supernova to destroy a planet. No, this one was going to be special.
He rose to a level high enough to see the curvature of the Earth and faced down, angling himself so that when he brought his hands together in front of him, two palms resting against each other with his fingers curled back like claws, the end of the cannon formed by his arms faced straight down at the city below.
The beam tunnelled through the heart of the city first, then expanded to encompass the entire city as Cell pumped a new wave of energy into it. When the Kamehameha wave reached the core of the Earth he sent another burst of ki along with it. Before his eyes he saw the surface of the continent crack like an egg then burn red as the lifeblood of the planet came gushing to the surface. Seconds later vast pillars of blue light shone from under the surface before wild electrical storms surged through the atmosphere. Finally, one last pulse of energy rocked the falling crust through the mantle before the light coming from within changed from red to blue to pure white.
Two seconds later the Earth was an expanding field of loose rocks flying at high speeds away from where the core had exploded. Cell, encased in an energy field borrowed from Android 17 smiled and rotated to face the sun, which looked like a bloated and bleeding heart to his eyes.
With a two-finger salute Cell said goodbye to the remnants of his home then left.
Earth wasn't the only world he'd destroy that day, but it was the one he'd enjoy the most.
AN: And that's all folks! I graduated this week, and I ended the fanfic I started in the 9th grade. The theme of this week must be endings. I'd like to thank all of my wonderful reviewers who made me excited to get the next chapter out just so I could see what the reception would be. I can't believe some of the theories you guys had! The music for the ending was pretty unrelated to the action but it put me in the right mood: Something For Your Mind by Super Organism for Buu's POV when he gets hit by the Kamehameha/Spirit Bomb, and God's Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash for Cell's POV after Majin Buu escaped the Spirit Bomb. Cooler remains infuriatingly resistant to all attempts at musical stimulation, but a bunch of old rock songs did the trick (Not that I'll have to worry about that any more).
I was going to end things differently, this chapter was supposed to end with the Spirit Bomb launch but then as I plotted it I saw that would make the next chapter criminally short if all that was going to happen was Cooler's sacrifice. Which by the way, was my way of making him more important than a really lucky Cell Junior would've been. He was weak enough that he flew under Buu's radar and his secret of knowing Instant Transmission was the key to really surprising Buu the same way Buu knowing IM was his ticket out of the Spirit Bomb. That's how Cooler got past having a broken scouter btw, IT to Sauza directly to give the order then IT back.
This really is the final ending, no sequels or anything. I was going to have one with a few sequel hooks but writing it out I realised it wasn't what I wanted. And writing a fanfic after all the fuel's gone is just an exercise in torture, and this hobby is for fun. But the least I can do is share how some of the alternate endings would've gone:
1. Same but Cell sacrificed himself with Buu. Good but well, then I'd have failed the goal of this fic which was to have a fic where Cell won. Writing this though, I see why they're so uncommon. Frieza at least has goals besides killing everyone!
2. Majin Buu absorbed Cell and turned Cooler into candy. Cell got loose inside Buu, pulled out Trunks (and maybe the Supreme Kais if they're still supposed to be there) then kills the now much dumber Buu. I was flipping a coin between this and the ending I settled on but the fact that this would have gone down better if I left the Spirit Bomb until after Buu reverted forms soured me on it.
3. Epilogue in the far future (1600 years later?) where Cell is finally defeated by a Kaioshin, a Super Namekian, one of the descendants of Cooler's family, a renegade Cell Jr and a beetle type alien.
4. Same as 2 but Cell is actually absorbed. Perfect Buu begins going on a real Super Buu-esque rampage and the warriors of Otherworld are sent to stop him. Eventually Gokhan gets absorbed by Buu and defuses, Goku and Gohan free Trunks and blast Cell to pieces. Cell regenerates inside of Buu and destroys him before erasing the Heavenly warriors.
5. The completely good ending, Buu turns Cell and Cooler into chocolate and eats them. Later on he and 16 take a trip to the past to borrow their dragon balls, and after wishing away most of the grimdarkness from the future timeline Buu is convinced to spit out Trunks. If I'd started from a different premise this is totally the ending I'd have gone with, it's just so bright!
And here's the sequel chapters/specials I planned on doing:
1. The Legendary Super Saiyan: Cell's rampage across the stars catches the attention of forgotten sensors attuned to the ki signature of the deceased Prince Vegeta. Paragus, with his son Broly in tow, begins the arduous task of tracking down the Perfect Android. Finally finding him in the midst of another planetary genocide, the old Saiyan is disappointed to see the wrong target. Yet Cell senses immense potential from the docile Broly and begins attacking him to try and draw out his power. The strength of the Saiyan of Legend is far beyond Cell's own, even surpassing that of Majin Buu's full potential. After brutal combat Cell is left with no choice but to strand the monstrous Saiyan in the ruins of Kaioshinkai. Yet even crossing the barriers between dimensions isn't beyond Broly's power.
2. Dead Men and Demons: Broly's brief rampage through the after life disrupted the soul cleansing process and led to the formation of the demon Janemba. Suddenly the dead are allowed back into the world of the living, and new and old foes are allowed to strike at Cell. Yet the heroes of Otherworld who have eagerly anticipated a way to stop Cell are distracted by the reality warping Janemba, who soon exerts control over the chaos consuming the realms of the living and the dead to further its own power. Cell and the ghosts of the Z-Fighters have no choice but to join forces to put an end to Janemba's destruction of the natural order.
3. Revenge of the Frost Demons: After the death of Cooler and the fall of the PTO, Ize and Kuriza have been training in secret to maximise their strength. Now years later the pair of brothers is ready to confront Cell, one with further evolution of the Arcosian form, the other with a Golden form entirely of his own creation.
4. Revival of the Tuffles: When Cell's long destructive spree across the galaxy began it was detected by scanners belonging to the long dead Tuffles. Two personality profiles were loaded from storage and placed in artificial bodies as they plotted ways to bring down the last remnant of the Saiyan race. Arriving to a strangely powerful energy on the metallic world of M2, Cell is faced with legions of machine mutants and ghosts conjured from poisonous destron gas. As they all fail General Rildo and Hatchiyak are sent to bring down Gero's mightiest creation. They succeed in gravely wounding Cell, but the android emerges victorious. In the end it is not the Tuffle war machines, but the infiltrator Baby who achieves victory by taking Cell's perfect body for himself.
5. Attack of the Body Snatchers: Baby expands the revived Tuffle race over the galaxy, winning victories on fronts as soon as they open. Yet a new threat emerges from out of the alternate timelines as the rogue Supreme Kai Zamasu arrives to fulfil his Zero Mortal Plan with his counterpart in the body of U11's most powerful fighter, Jiren. Jiren Black easily dismantles Baby in their first fight, and even the power of all his fellow Tuffles is not enough to bridge the gap between them. Yet after the destruction of his body that purges it of the parasite Cell returns with a whole new level of power. Training to foster godly ki within himself, Cell eventually unlocks a form similar to that displayed by Kuriza yet with a blue aura far different from his familiar gold. In the end the sole destroyer of the future is left facing both Zamasus. It's SSBE KKx50 Golden Cell vs Jiren Black to determine just which one will be responsible for wiping all mortal life from the universe.
6. Xenoverse: The Time Breakers finally come for Cell, aiming to steal the bounty of energy caused by their initial interference in events. Yet thanks to his godly nature Cell is able to survive and strike back at them, taking control of his timeline back from the two demons. In the end, dropped back into his own time, Cell is approached by Whis. The angel has been restored from a dormant state to choose the new God of Destruction for U7, and his candidate is Cell. Cell agrees, aiming to eventually become strong enough to seize power from Zeno and reshape all of creation so that only his perfection is left.
It's been fun boys and girls, however this is where it ends. Sayonara!